VA DIC Is a series of payments made by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to widows and widowers who have dependents with them when their veteran spouse dies. Having knowledge about this program and what it does for surviving spouses can help you determine whether you need to pursue it or not.
Are you looking for what VA Death and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is and wondering if you qualify? You’re not alone. I found the process of applying for VA DIC a little confusing and intimidating at first. There are many forms to be filled out, circumstances to be considered, and rules to be followed.
So, this guide will help to make the process smooth by educating you on how VA DIC works, how to apply for it, and who qualifies for it. So that you can start moving towards getting the benefits you deserve.
What is VA DIC, and how does it work?
In the US military, there are a number of financial benefits offered to the spouses and children of deceased veterans. One such benefit is VA death and Indemnity compensation (DIC). VA death and indemnity compensation (DIC) is a series of benefits made by the Department of Veteran Affairs to the spouses when their veteran spouse dies.
When a veteran dies, the surviving spouse is entitled to receive death compensation and bereavement you may qualify. Such benefits can be obtained when the Veteran dies due to service-related reasons, whether he or she is a military retiree or still serving.
So, if you are a surviving spouse of a veteran who died from service-related injuries or disease or non-services related diseases. In that case, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits from the Veteran’s Administration (VA).
DIC is a kind of monthly benefit paid to the dependent spouse for the betterment of their future and their living expenses in honor of the Veteran’s service.
Eligibility for VA DIC as a Veteran Spouse:
If you are a spouse of a Veteran who has died or injured in the line of duty, you may be fulfilling the following conditions in order to get the VA DIC benefits.
· The Veteran had to be married within 15 years after the period of military service during which he or she contracted or aggravated the disease or injury that caused the Veteran's death
· Married with the Veteran for at least 1 Year
· Validly married with the Veteran who has died on Active Duty, Training, or Inactive Duty Training
· Had the child with the Veteran and bringing up the child together
· You have cohabited with the Veteran continuously until his/her death
Must Be True
· Widow or Widower and haven’t remarried OR
· Separated but was not at fault
These are the conditions that make you eligible for the VA DIC benefits if you are a husband or wife of a Veteran.
What do you need to Apply for VA DIC?
There are multiple documents that you will need to provide in order to successfully apply for the VA DIC. In order to get DIC benefits, you will need to provide some evidence that you are eligible for the compensation.
Following are the details you must know before applying for the VA DIC as a spouse.
You will need to provide the evidence claiming your situation is true, and you are eligible for compensation by the Veteran Department. The evidence could be Service Records, Military Discharge Documents, Medical Tests Reports, Doctor’s Reports, etc.
You can get the required evidence details by inquiring the VA administration office because the required documents are different for each Veteran depending on their military service, rank, condition, reason of death, etc.
How to apply for VA DIC?
The Veteran's disability claims can provide important benefits for surviving spouses. Whether you’re a veteran who is disabled or the spouse of a disabled vet, it’s worth the effort to apply for benefits. Benefits may include compensation, health care, and vocational rehabilitation or education.
You can easily apply for the DIC to the Veteran Administration Departments by first filling out a form depending on your Veteran status. The status could be related to Rank, Services Department, Serving Years, etc.
You will have to fill out an application form named VA Form 21P-534EZ that is essential for DIC, Death Pension, and Accrued Benefits.
You can download the form from the given link.
How to Submit VA DIC Form?
Now, there are 4 simple ways to submit your form for VA DIC for Surviving Spouse.
By Visiting VA Regional Office: You can get help with filling out the form and submitting directly at the Veteran Administrative Office. The VA office employees will help you out through all the processes.
You can find the nearest VA Regional Office with the help of the following link.
Sending By Mail: If you can’t go to the VA Regional Office, you can fill out the form and mail it to the following mailing address. They will receive the form and proceed to the further process.
Department of Veterans Affairs Pension Intake Center PO Box 5365 Janesville, WI 53547-5365
By Uploading Directly: You can submit your form online via uploading it to the AccessVA tool. This method is very helpful and better than mailing the form. The direct upload method is fast and easy to use. You can use the following link to upload the form.
AccessVA Link to Upload the Form
By the Help of an Accredited Representative: You can seek help from an Accredited Representative to successfully fill out and submit your form to apply for VA DIC. The representative can help you throughout the process, and you will have to coordinate with them thoroughly.
If you don’t know about Accredited Representative, the following link can help you.
Get Help From Accredited Representative
How much does VA pay in the name of DIC?
The Veteran Administrative Department pays Death and Indemnity Compensation according to your current situation. The compensation mostly relies on your countable income and yearly income; this resembles your current situation. Another most important thing while counting the compensation is children.
If you have any child, you will likely get extra paid according to the age and number of the children. The amount can also be increased if you are in need of Aid and Attendance.
An average compensation amount for a spouse is $1340 per month but remember, the amount depends on multiple factors.
If you are in need of Aid and Attendance, you will get paid an extra $332 each month.
When should I apply for VA DIC as a Veteran Spouse?
You have to apply as early as possible after your Veteran spouse’s death. The reason behind this is if you apply early, there are higher chances that you will start receiving the benefits after one month of applying. If you submit the form after 1 year of death, there are chances that your application will take some months to get processed.
So, it is better to apply for VA DIC right after death.
If you apply within one year of the death, the VA will process your application faster, and you are likely to receive compensation amount after one month. VA will grant you benefits after each month exactly at the date you have received your first compensation.
If you apply after 1 year of death, it will take more to process your application for the VA, and you will likely have to wait for more than 1 month to receive your first amount. After that, you will receive the monthly amount according to the date of the first compensation amount.
How long does it take to get VA DIC survivor benefits?
It usually takes 30 to 60 days to receive VA DIC survivor benefits after submitting your form and all the documents. The time depends on various things, including how you submit the form. If you submit the form online, the process will be immediately started, and you will have to wait less time.
If you submit the form by mail, it will take some more time to process your request for the VA department, as mailing will be checked and processed weekly. Besides, the mail will take some time to be received by the VA department.
So, you can consider 30 to 60 days of processing period for DIC survivor benefits. In this time period, you will receive your first paycheck, and after that, it will be in your hands each month.
How do I check the status of my VA survivor benefits?
You can easily check the status of your VA DIC application by calling on this number 1-800-827-1000. The VA department has created a separate line that can be used by the applicants to contact and get answers to all their queries.
By calling on the given number, you can easily ask them to tell you the status of your application. They will ask you some questions first, including your application number or personal details like name, number, etc. After that, they will tell you all your required details.
How Long Does VA DIC Last for Veteran Spouse?
The VA death and indemnity compensation allowance will be given to the Veteran’s spouse forever till their death if they remain widow or Widower and not remarried before turning 57 years old. The reason behind forever DIC allowance is to honor the Veteran’s family in exchange for their services to the country.
So, if you are a spouse of a Veteran, you will get benefits unless you marry someone else before turning 57. And after turning 57, you can marry someone, and you may still receive the benefits.
Who do you call when a veteran dies?
If you are a wife of a US Military Veteran, you should know that in case of your husband’s death, you have to immediately inform the nearest Social Security Office. They will do the rest and guide you throughout the VA DIC process.
After your Veteran husband or wife passes away, the VA will issue a burial fund, and then they will issue survival benefits to help you with a monthly pension and to make you live your life conveniently.
How do I notify the VA of a death of a Veteran?
As said previously, you have to call the nearest Social Security Office and inform them about the Veteran’s death. But, if you can’t access their line, you can call on the given number and inform Federal Social Security Office.
Social Security Office Number 1-800-772-1213
If the Veteran was already receiving benefits, you should immediately inform the VA Pension and Compensation Department by calling on the given number.
US VA Pension and Compensation Departments 1-800-827-1000
You can also call and inform about the Veteran’s death on the below number. They will inform the Veteran’s military mates (if any) and inform them so that they can take part in the funeral.
DFAS - Retired military only 888-332-7411
VA death and indemnity compensation (DIC) is a series of benefits made by the Department of Veteran Affairs to the spouses when their veteran spouse dies. The VA death benefits are given to the spouse who was legally married to the active service member at the time of death. It also offers the presidential memorial certificate, grave marker, flag, and so on to the spouse who was legally married to their deceased Veteran at their date of death.
The guide explains how you can apply for the VA DIC after your Veteran spouse's death and the eligibilities as a widow or Widower to get compensated by the Veteran Administrative Department.
The guide also explains some common questions like how long will you get benefits from VA DIC as a spouse and when you should apply for it.